Aspects of lipid membrane bio-responses to subnanosecond, ultrahigh voltage pulsing

R. P. Joshi, J. Song, K. H. Schoenbach, V. Sridhara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Membrane electroporation is probably one of the best-known effects of applying external voltages to biological cells. Reports in the literature have focused on relatively long voltage pulse durations (100 ns-1 ms). Here we probe the very short ( 500 kV/cm) regime that is made possible by advances in pulsed power technology. Our analyses based on continuum Smoluchowski and Molecular Dynamics (MD) approaches, predict two new aspects. First, it is shown that pore formation rates would be dramatically lower than predicted by conventional theory due to their dependence on local pore area. Second, such high fields are predicted to affect membrane proteins and ion-channels, without causing electroporation in regions between the proteins. Hence, such high voltage, short duration pulsing should not be associated with electroporation alone, but rather be viewed as a novel vehicle that opens possibilities for a range of new electrically-driven bio-response phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5293934
Pages (from-to)1243-1250
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Bioelectric phenomena
  • Biomembranes
  • Dielectric breakdown
  • Modeling


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